A sober man got a DUI in early December after he “looked drunk,” but he passed all field sobriety tests by the arresting officer and also registered a 0.000 blood alcohol level through a breathalyzer. Now Jessie Thornton is seeking $500,000 from the city on the basis of allegedly being a victim of racial profiling and harassment by the local police.
The incident which led to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge occurred on Dec. 7 in Surprise, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. Thornton has since explained the situation and his reasons for the late-night drive as his wife is an ER nurse who regularly works the overnight shifts.
“I take my glasses off and he says, ‘You’ve got bloodshot eyes.’ I said, ‘I’ve been swimming at LA Fitness,’ and he says, ‘I think you’re DUI,” Thornton explained about the incident.
The Arizona man made it known that he runs errands, goes to the gym, or in this case went swimming, while his wife is at work. He’ll now be remembered as the sober man with a DUI who’s had a rough time with cops while making his daily runs late into the night after sleeping during the day to correlate with his wife’s schedule.
Thornton told ABC News about the re-occurring trend of cops pulling him over during his late errand runs.
“I’ve been stopped 10 times in Surprise and given four tickets, it’s amazing,” he said. The charges from his latest mix-up were eventually dropped in the court room two months after the arrest, but that hasn’t stopped Thornton from hiring a lawyer and setting up a $500,000 claim.
Both Thornton and his attorney have since referred to the incident as a case of “driving while black.”
“This is a case of D-W-B, driving while black,” said his attorney Marc Victor. “This is not the way American citizens ought to be treated by officers or treated by anybody for that matter.”
Do you believe the sober man DUI arrest could happen to any unlucky driver who’s out and about late into the night?